* Press release from yesterday…
Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed Executive Order 17-05, creating the governor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.
The task force will be co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Dr. Nirav D. Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The task force will look at strategies to prevent expansion of the opioid crisis, treat and promote the recovery of individuals with opioid-use disorder, and reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths.
We already have an Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council, which works on preparedness and prevention.
* Also from yesterday…
Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, several state agency officials, stakeholders, and advocates today helped release the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan. A coalition of state agencies has developed a strategic framework that outlines what Illinois needs to do to address the opioid crisis and why it needs to be done.
“The opioid epidemic knows no neighborhood, no color, and no class. It is not confined to alleys in urban settings, nor isolated in rural communities,” Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti said. “Illinois needs a comprehensive opioid strategy that destigmatizes addiction and appropriately aligns resources across state agencies in partnership with community priorities.”
Since 2013, the number of heroin deaths in Illinois has nearly doubled, and the number of prescription opioid deaths has almost quadrupled. Last year, there were 1,889 opioid overdose deaths, an increase of 76 percent from 2013. Recent analyses of death records in Illinois shows that overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids have increased more than any other category of opioids. The largest increase was in the number of deaths involving fentanyl, and drugs similar to fentanyl, which led to a tenfold increase in synthetic opioid overdose deaths between 2013 and 2016.
Earlier today, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an Executive Order creating the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. The task force will look at strategies to prevent expansion of the opioid crisis, treat and promote the recovery of individuals with opioid-use disorder, and reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths. The task force will be co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti and Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“The death toll continues to rise exponentially, and, if left unchecked, estimates show that more than 2,700 people in Illinois will die from opioid overdoses in 2020,” Dr. Shah said. “The opioid crisis is not something that can simply be solved with more treatment, increased prevention, or more arrests. It will take all of us, in all capacities to end the crisis.”
The goal of the plan is to reduce the anticipated number of opioid-related deaths by 33 percent in three years. The plan identifies three areas of focus: prevention, treatment/recovery, and response. To address those three areas of focus, the state has identified six priorities:
• Safer prescribing and dispensing of opioids
• Education and stigma reduction
• Data monitoring and communication
• Increasing access to care
• Supporting justice-involved populations
• Increasing naloxone access and use
…The state will collaborate actively with other key stakeholders, including the Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council, to build on the plan’s framework.
Much of that and more is being funded now.
* From the governor’s campaign…
Wednesday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed an executive order establishing the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force to address the epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse in Illinois.
Aiming to reduce the more than 1900 expected opioid-related deaths in Illinois this year, the Task Force will focus on preventing high risk individuals from developing an addiction, as well as treating overdose cases through training and availability of medications that can help revive patients.
Take a look at some of the coverage from Wednesday’s order signing:
Look, good politics is good governance and we definitely need a better strategy for dealing with the opioid situation. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
I just hope they aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel in order to score a few points.
* Meanwhile, a joint House and Senate hearing was held yesterday on legalizing and taxing marijuana. It was chock full of 1980s talking points from law enforcement…
Also testifying Wednesday was a panel representing the Illinois States’ Attorneys Association, which is opposed to recreational marijuana legalization.
“I think everyone would agree that government’s most important function is public safety,” DuPage County States’ Attorney Bob Berlin said. “It’s our position that legalizing marijuana does not advance public safety at all. In fact, it moves the ball in the other direction.”
Berlin said marijuana is addictive and can lead to users trying even more dangerous drugs, such as opioids.
But Neill Franklin, executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, said in his 34 years as a cop, he’s seen firsthand that prohibition isn’t working and it’s time to legalize marijuana.
You know what leads quite a large number of people to try opioids? Doctor prescriptions. Let’s try living in the real world.